Saturday, November 13, 2021

Chim chim cher-ee

So far, it's working fine. But we haven't had a windy day since the new chimney was installed earlier this week. The real test will be if the flame stays lit when the wind blows. The old chimney was abandoned in favor of a horizontal vent through the wall next to the boiler at the time it was installed. The reason was cost. Ken remembers asking about it during the installation and the technician responded that it would cost about five hundred euros more to pull the old tube out of the chimney and install a new one. So, we figured he knew what he was talking about.

The new chimney cap. Exhaust vents on top, intake below. The chimney on the other side of the roof is for the kitchen stove hood.

But no. Not long after the new installation was operational we started having problems with the flame blowing out. At first I think we thought it was an exceptional occurrence and figured it wouldn't happen all that much. But it kept getting worse, forcing us to go downstairs several times a day to reset the boiler. One technician adjusted the flow of the fuel thinking that would stop the problem. It didn't.

The old chimney was capped off until it was put back in service last week. Photo by Ken.

At some point, we came to the conclusion that the wind was either blowing back through the exhaust vent or that it was pushing exhaust into the intake vents, or both. The flame only went out on windy days. We finally got another technician to agree that the vertical chimney was the better solution and the company scheduled the work. So now we wait for wind. I'm in no hurry.

The now defunct through-the-wall horizontal exhaust/intake vent. It's been removed and the hole is patched. Photo by Ken.


  1. That’s quite an elegant new chimney cap. Spoke with our nephew and niece-in-law in central South Dakota last night. They had been without hot water all day because the winds were blowing so hard they couldn’t keep the pilot light lit. A regular problem for them, too. And they have STRONG winds. The huge gas grill is chained to the deck because it blew off one too many times.

  2. What is the pipe to the left in Ken's photo?

  3. I agree with Mitchell -- that's a nice looking chimney cap :)
    I know that I've read that with newer furnaces, the system usually works to vent through a wall, instead of a chimney... something to do with the efficiency process. So, here's a story of how that isn't the ideal choice! I wonder if it would have worked if the whole system had been on a different wall of the house?

  4. mitch, now, THAT sounds like cyclonic winds!

    potty, I believe that's the vent for the underground fuel tank.

    judy, I think it looks good, too. And I think if the vent had been on the north side of the house, we would not have had this problem. But, the boiler is where it is. Venting it to another wall would not have been practical.

    1. Oh, yes, yes, I wasn't suggesting it be moved to another wall, just wondering out loud how all of these things work.


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